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Inside the numbers

How Patriots’ salary cap flexibility has improved

Potential free agents Aqib Talib, Wes Welker, Dwight Freeney (Colts), Julian Edelman and David Nelson (Bills) all could be in the Patriots’ plans now.

Photos by AP, Getty Images

Potential free agents Aqib Talib, Wes Welker, Dwight Freeney (Colts), Julian Edelman and David Nelson (Bills), left to right, all could be in the Patriots’ plans now.

After Tom Brady’s contract extension, the Patriots now have approximately $25 million in salary-cap space, depending on where the final per-team number ends up before the start of free agency on March 12. That salary cap figure could go up depending on other cost-cutting moves. Brady’s extension cleared $8 million in cap space for 2013.

A look at how that could impact the Patriots this offseason:

BEFORE BRADY RENEGOTIATION
Potential addition: Cost:   
Dwight Freeney, Colts DE$4 million
Keenan Lewis, Steelers CB  $3 million
David Nelson, Bills WR  $2 million
Ramses Barden, Giants WR  $1 million
Julian Edelman$1 million
Free cap space: ($4 million rookie draft cap, $2 million for flexibility)      $6 million 
Total$17 million
Gone: Wes Welker, Sebastian Vollmer, Aqib Talib, Kyle Arrington, Danny Woodhead
AFTER BRADY RENEGOTIATION
Potential addition: Cost:
Aqib Talib$8.6 million transition tag
Wes Welker    $5 million cap charge
Dwight Freeney, Colts DE    $4 million
Julian Edelman$1 million
David Nelson, Bills WR$1 million
Free cap space: ($4 million rookie draft cap, $2 million for flexibility)      $6 million 
Total$25 million*
Gone: Sebastian Vollmer, Kyle Arrington, Danny Woodhead

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*$25 million is an approximated cap number

Note: For transition tag, team has right of first refusal and would receive no compensation.

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